State News: Ariz. Planned Parenthood Resumes Some Services
News outlets report on a variety of state health policy news.
The Baltimore Sun: Stent Committee Recommends Increased Oversight
A state advisory group on Thursday recommended legislative changes to bolster oversight of coronary stent placements amid widespread concerns about unnecessary medical procedures, but it stopped short of proposing that state law regulate physician reviews in hospitals. The omission drew sharp criticism from two national cardiology groups, which noted in a joint letter to the Maryland Health Care Commission that "inadequate, voluntary, internal review" was to blame for the failure at St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson. That's where Dr. Mark Midei was found to have overestimated patients' arterial blockage to justify the implantation of unnecessary stents for years without being discovered (Bishop, 12/15).
Arizona Republic: Planned Parenthood Resuming Abortion Services In 2 Phoenix Area Cities
Planned Parenthood of Arizona will resume abortion services at its north Phoenix and Chandler clinics by the end of the month. The organization halted abortion services at all but three clinics statewide in late August after several state laws went into effect requiring that only physicians dispense medication abortion pills or perform first-trimester surgical abortions (Rau, 12/15).
Kaiser Health News: How Lawsuits Can Stymie Some Automatic Cuts
Automatic spending cuts, triggered by a state's budget process, can give lawmakers political cover to slash funding to popular programs. In California, though, advocates are seizing on legal strategies to make some services budget bulletproof (Varney, 12/15).
California Healthline: PCIP Enrollment Numbers Rise a Bit
The federally funded, state-run Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan has always been a bit of a tough sell. ... In the first year after the program launched in October 2010, it added about 375 enrollees a month. At the one-year mark, enrollment stood at about 5,000 Californians. That was a far cry from early guesses about how many people would sign up (Gorn, 12/16).
Kansas Health Institute News: Kansas Welfare Chief Stepping Down
Rob Siedlecki, the embattled secretary of the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, is stepping down. Siedlecki came to Kansas for the SRS job earlier this year, resigning his post as chief of staff for the Florida Department of Health. His last day at SRS will be Dec. 31. Officials in the administration of Gov. Sam Brownback said Siedlecki would return to Florida to be closer to family. His family has a transportation company based there and Siedlecki once ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the Florida Legislature (Ranney, 12/15).
Kansas Health Institute News: Report Reflects Recession's Toll On Kansas Children
An estimated 19 percent of Kansas children live in poverty and almost half of school-age children receive free or reduced-price lunches, according to a new report. … [T]he number of Kansas children living in homes with annual income below the federal poverty guidelines climbed from 17 percent in 2009 to 19 percent in 2010. The annual percentages are based on five-year averages (Ranney, 12/15).
Kansas Health Institute News: A Kansas Digital Health Information Network Could Launch By Spring
Kansas could have a digital health information exchange in place as soon as this spring, officials said Wednesday. The Kansas Health Information Network (KHIN) plans to submit some time this week its application for certification to the Kansas Health Information Exchange, Inc. (KHIE), the quasi-public body that governs health information exchanges operations in the state. … KHIN is one of two networks being developed in Kansas. The networks are intended to link doctors, specialists, hospitals, and regional cooperatives for sharing electronic patient health records (Cauthon, 12/15).
St. Louis Beacon: Nurse Practitioners Fill A Gap In Rural Health Care
There are no doctors in Pilot Grove, Mo., but the town's 825 residents have perhaps the best alternative source of health care, thanks to an enterprising nurse practitioner. She is Laurie A. Beach, who owns and operates the Pilot Grove Rural Health Clinic in the central Missouri town. ... Health-care providers point to Beach as an example of the growing role that nurse practitioners are playing to bring medical care to rural Missouri communities where primary-care doctors are nonexistent or in short supply (Joiner, 12/15).
Denver Post: Grant For Insurance Marketplace Advances
Colorado lawmakers moved forward Thursday with an $18 million federal grant application to set up an insurance marketplace required under the new health care law. Lawmakers voted 9-1 to apply for the grant (12/16).
MSNBC: Lt. Gov. Ramsey Wants To Wait On Health Care Exchange Decision
Tennessee has some big decisions to make when it comes to health care reform. A top lawmaker said Thursday he wants to wait until after the elections to deal with Obama's plan. It's a move health care advocates say could put Tennesseans at risk. The state needs to decide whether to set up it's own health care exchange. ... But the lieutenant governor says he doesn't want to make a decision until he knows for sure what the U.S. Supreme Court has to say about the health care law (12/15).